What if God is a provable phenomenon?
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22-01-2014, 02:47 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
Actually, frankly, I just was away from my computer for a weekend, came back and had too many comments to catch up on.

Now, having read through most of the comments I missed, the conversation seems to have moved pretty far off of where I started.

Robby, your pink unicorns and fleems really don't have anything to do with what I was asking about at the start of this topic. But, if you want me to respond to it, I'd say that your point has the same problem with it that I see with a lot of atheist arguments: it is an appeal to emotion not to logic. You bring up clearly made-up ideas of fanciful pink unicorns or fleems (other examples online include the all powerful spaghetti monster) with the idea of appealing to people's emotions. Whatever your actual argument is, your use of the emotional plea essentially turns your "argument" into this:

1. Only idiots would believe in pink unicorns
2. Believing in God is just as stupid as believing in pink unicorns
3. You aren't an idiot are you?
4. Therefore, you shouldn't believe in God

Obviously, the problem with that argument is that it doesn't actually address anything to do with the existence of God.

If your argument actually is as simple as: there is no proof for the existence of God, so he doesn't exist, then first of all, why did you feel the need to use mockery instead of logical arguments? And, secondly, why do you ignore all the good arguments for God's existence?

Personally, my favorite argument for God's existence is the cosmological argument. If you want to hear a good formulation of it, I recommend this video to you:

http://www.apologetics315.com/2011/11/is...ig-in.html

The cosmological argument is the first one that he discusses.

I've been listening to Dawkins' "The God Delusion" recently, and it just annoys me so much how he seems to rely on mockery, and I hear so much of it from other atheists, too. Like I mentioned before, I appreciated all the intelligent responses that I got on my first thread initially, but I have been disappointed that more of those comments later ended up devolving into ridiculous mockery. If you guys want to preach to the choir, great, but if that's the case I don't have a great singing voice, so I probably shouldn't be hanging around to listen. I came to hopefully have intelligent discussions on topics of interest, not to listen to people relying in ridicule over reason.

As for the "why does suffering exist if God exists argument" that apparently required pictures of starving African kids, I'm always stunned when people put that argument forward because it seems so silly. Like always, the answer depends on which God you believe in, but as long as you believe in a God that has provided human kind with free-will then the answer is simple. If you give human beings free-will suffering is inevitable. Suffering happens because humans inflict it on one another. Dawkins loves to say to religious people, "Why don't you give credit to humans for the good things they do? Why does God get credit for a successful surgery instead of the surgeon?, etc". On the other side, I'd say to atheists, why don't you seem to want to give credit to humans for the evil they do? God didn't fly into the twin towers, humans did. And, your African kids are starving because of the corrupt humans running their countries, or the human warlords who have raped and pillaged the lands, etc. So, why doesn't God step in and stop humans from doing evil? Well, because then it's not free will. He may as well have made a bunch of robots who hold hands in a circle singing kumbaya.

Anyways, I could go on because there are so many more points on that issue, but I don't want to be accused of trolling, and this is an atheist page, so I'll just end it there. It just annoys me when people think that stating an argument strongly and boldly, or using compelling visuals somehow ought to be able to substitute for the use of rational thought and reason. Don't give religious preachers a hard time for using emotional pleas to indoctrinate their congregation and then use the exact same tactics to support atheism using pictures of starving African kids or mocking comments about pink unicorns and fleems.
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22-01-2014, 03:00 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
(22-01-2014 02:47 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Personally, my favorite argument for God's existence is the cosmological argument...

Uh... huh. Is that all you've got?

Because the following protocol:
1) establish the possibility of deism
2) ???
3) conclude God!
does not work.

Thus to even say 'God' as a proper noun is imputing all sorts of characteristics and associations which have nothing whatsoever to do with cosmological arguments.

Deism is possible in the sense that most formulations put it beyond the realm of current investigation - which, to be fair, is a problem real physical theories of cosmogenesis (e.g. string theroy) also fall prey to.

An interventionist God, and even more so a personal God, is a nonsensically incoherent concept with not a single glimmer of the faintest shred of the meanest scrap of evidence. So there's that.

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22-01-2014, 03:09 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
I'm assuming Baruch will come in here to refute the free will argument with children suffering with diseases they were born with such as spina bifida and other birth defects, so I'll let him take care of that. Those kids certainly didn't have free will to choose healthy pain free lives.

I didn't use sarcasm, mockery or ad hominem attacks here. Just fact.

Check out my atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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22-01-2014, 03:17 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
(22-01-2014 03:09 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  I didn't use sarcasm, mockery or ad hominem attacks here.

I wasn't aware that I had either.

(well - no more sarcasm than usual)

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22-01-2014, 04:37 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
Quote:1. Only idiots would believe in pink unicorns
2. Believing in God is just as stupid as believing in pink unicorns
3. You aren't an idiot are you?
4. Therefore, you shouldn't believe in God

You've missed the point of the invisible pink unicorn, LookingForAnswers.

The argument is more properly phrased this way:

1. It is reasonable to disbelieve in the existence of anything for which the evidence is insufficient.
2. The evidence for the existence of invisible pink unicorns is insufficient.
3. It is reasonable to disbelieve in the existence of invisible pink unicorns.

Take the above and substitute the word "God" for "invisible pink unicorns."

There is no evidence for the existence of God. There is no more a need to "disprove" the existence of God than there is a need to disprove the existence of invisible pink unicorns.

The only thing that makes "God" a serious question rather than an absurdity (like IPU or FSM) is the passage of time and the emotional strength of tradition.

The cosmological argument posits God. It does not prove Him. It is not evidence - it is philosophy. Some of us look at the grand question of how the universe began and admit: "I don't know." Others are striving through increasingly difficult-to-grasp science to answer the question naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural. And they are very good at it. But it's REALLY difficult to grasp.

My inability to perfectly understand what happened at the beginning does not mandate a supernatural cause. The cosmological posits a supernatural cause, but it does not do so through science or observation. It is the ultimate appeal to the unknown, and it has no place in science. It. is. not. proof. On the other hand, the naturalistic explanation, though it is difficult to grasp, stems directly from aspects of science that we do know and that we have established. There is more logical reason to accept the natural explanation than there is to accept the supernatural. There is no REASON to accept the supernatural explanation.

Positing a solution is not the same as proving it. The cosmological argument proves nothing. It invents an answer and demands that the answer be disproved. But there is no need to disprove what hasn't been established in the first place. There are no invisible pink unicorns. And there is no God.
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23-01-2014, 10:23 AM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
@cjlr, I never said interventionist God, although "personal" God, in the sense of a thinking being who chose to create the Universe is addressed by WLC's formulation of the cosmological argument. Obviously, the argument is not intended to go beyond there to prove the existence of any particular God, but we have just been talking about that first step (to the existence of a God), not all the characteristics that such a God would likely have.

@WillHop, I wasn't talking about you in particular, more a general thing. As for the choice, sure those individuals didn't get to choose, but that doesn't mean that their issues aren't as a result of someone else's choice. Obviously, medical science hasn't figured out every birth defect out there, yet, and what causes them, but we have certainly figured out a bunch of them. Many of them occur as a result of the actions of the mother during pregnancy and many others occur due to medical care at birth.

It's also worth mentioning that some kids born with "genetic disorders" end up living very happy fulfilling lives. I am a lawyer and I medical malpractice litigation, including obstetrical malpractice cases. A bunch of our files include cases of shoulder dystocia, essentially it is where the shoulder of the baby gets stuck during delivery (often because the baby is coming out sideways and gets stuck on the pubic bone). The cases I see usually involve a doctor who pulls too hard ripping the nerves in the brachial plexus (a bundle of nerves found in the shoulder). This results in a baby with little to no use of one arm. However, one of the things that you often see is that the baby grows up to be a happy kid. They don't miss the use of their arm because they never had it. If the right arm is injured, they just end up being left handed. Sure they have lost something due to the doctor's negligent actions, but that doesn't mean that they can't also be happy successful kids. So, not only can you explain their disability using the actions and choices of humans (eg. the doctor's mistake or choice of incorrect maneuver), but you also can't jump straight from disability to suffering.

@TwoCult Survivor, I was a philosophy major in undergrad, so I suppose it makes sense that my comments would tend to sound more philosophical than scientific, but I don't think that makes the cosmological argument any less relevant. I do not, however, agree with your classification of it being outside of science or observation, nor an appeal to the unknown.

As I understand it, science involves scientific facts (ie. objects fall at a certain speed and acceleration), scientific theories that constitute the widely accepted best explanation based on the scientific facts (ie. the theory of gravity) and hypotheses (theories that do no have sufficient support to be elevated to the stature of scientific theories). In this context, God would be classified as a hypothesis. The hypothesis of a creator God is based on the collection of scientific facts that exist in the universe (the existence of a universe, the evidence of the big bang, our observations of the cosmos, etc). It is a theory that explains the existence of anything at all.

A scientific hypothesis ought to be elevated to a theory if it: 1. explains the facts better than any other theory, 2. is internally consistent, and 3. is not disproven by the finding of inconsistent evidence (feel free to correct me if you think I have missed a consideration here).

I'm sure you will disagree, but I classify God as an explanation that is internally consistent and explains the facts better than any other theory. The only reason why I say it needs to be disproven is because it seems to satisfy #1 and #2, not because of emotion or the passage of time. Alternatively, if a theory is provided that better explains the facts or if you can demonstrate an internal inconsistency with the hypothesis then feel free to attack the God theory/hypothesis in that way.

What I don't understand is why so many atheists treat the God theory/hypothesis any differently than any other scientific theory/hypothesis. My grade 9 science teacher told me at the start of the year that most of what he would teach us is wrong or would eventually be proven to be wrong. Think of all the theories that preceded atomic theory. The important part, he said, was to learn the method. 1000 years from now they may have found better theories to explain what makes up matter or the transfer of energy, and they may have disproven the theories we have now by finding evidence that contradicts our current models. But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't accept those theories as long as they remain the best theories available.

The cosmological argument is an argument that takes the scientific facts that we know about the universe (however basic those scientific facts may seem, such as the fact that we exist) and uses logic to show a creator God as being an internally consistent explanation for those facts. In fact, it also establishes a creator-God (of some type, not necessarily the Christian God or any other) to be the only internally consistent explanation for the facts. To classify it as an appeal to the unknown is to ignore the actual issue and to reject a hypothesis without actually attacking the logic thereof or any of the premises (or scientific facts) on which it is based.
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23-01-2014, 11:16 AM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  @cjlr, I never said interventionist God, although "personal" God, in the sense of a thinking being who chose to create the Universe is addressed by WLC's formulation of the cosmological argument. Obviously, the argument is not intended to go beyond there to prove the existence of any particular God, but we have just been talking about that first step (to the existence of a God), not all the characteristics that such a God would likely have.

No, it isn't. What I mean was that even saying 'God' instead of, say, 'creator', brings inappropriate connotations. At best it's sloppy and at worst it's deliberate equivocation.

There is no evidence - anywhere, ever - of the universe behaving (once it existed) in anything but a purely natural, understandable way.

Thus, deism. That's all you're really arguing. Which is all well and good.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  As I understand it, science involves scientific facts (ie. objects fall at a certain speed and acceleration), scientific theories that constitute the widely accepted best explanation based on the scientific facts (ie. the theory of gravity) and hypotheses (theories that do no have sufficient support to be elevated to the stature of scientific theories).

More or less...

Though to speak of 'facts' rather than 'observations' is quite presumptive. A hypothesis is an untested explanation and a theory is a tested-but-not-falsified one.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  In this context, God would be classified as a hypothesis. The hypothesis of a creator God is based on the collection of scientific facts that exist in the universe (the existence of a universe, the evidence of the big bang, our observations of the cosmos, etc). It is a theory that explains the existence of anything at all.

The purpose of a supplementary hypothesis or new theory is to explain things (ie observations) that existing theories cannot account for.

The unexplained observation in this case being, "the universe exists". Naturally, the question follows - "why does the universe exist?"

One hypothesis - which is an old idea and is called deism, your disingenuous use of 'God' notwithstanding - answers the question by saying "a creator made the universe".

It is not a particularly useful theory. This is because it does not actually tell us anything. It is a semantic exercise - a placeholder. It explains nothing about how. It explains nothing about why. It raises the question "why does the creator exist?". And, of course, it is not presently testable... So yes, it is a hypothesis. It is a bad hypothesis.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  A scientific hypothesis ought to be elevated to a theory if it: 1. explains the facts better than any other theory, 2. is internally consistent, and 3. is not disproven by the finding of inconsistent evidence (feel free to correct me if you think I have missed a consideration here).

No, that is a perfectly serviceable definition.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I'm sure you will disagree, but I classify God as an explanation that is internally consistent...

Insofar as no deeds nor characteristics are imparted to this 'God' figure, seeing as neither would be justifiable nor demonstrable.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  ... and explains the facts better than any other theory.

There are no other hypotheses. We are not at a point where cosmogony is amenable to direct investigation.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  The only reason why I say it needs to be disproven is because it seems to satisfy #1 and #2, not because of emotion or the passage of time. Alternatively, if a theory is provided that better explains the facts or if you can demonstrate an internal inconsistency with the hypothesis then feel free to attack the God theory/hypothesis in that way.

You keep saying 'God'. Why?

Do you know anything about this purported 'God'?

(the only honest answer is no)

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  That I don't understand is why so many atheists treat the God theory/hypothesis any differently than any other scientific theory/hypothesis.

... because it's a useless placeholder? If and when it becomes open to investigation, it's worth considering. A deistic cosmogony is rationally defensible, insofar as it is not falsifiable and does explain an unknown.

It, however, has no explicative ability beyond the most superficial and is of no predictive utility whatsoever.

It also happens to have nothing to do with the actual claims of any modern religion. So there's that.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  My grade 9 science teacher told me at the start of the year that most of what he would teach us is wrong or would eventually be proven to be wrong. Think of all the theories that preceded atomic theory. The important part, he said, was to learn the method. 1000 years from now they may have found better theories to explain what makes up matter or the transfer of energy, and they may have disproven the theories we have now by finding evidence that contradicts our current models. But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't accept those theories as long as they remain the best theories available.

A wise teacher. That's all very true.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  The cosmological argument is an argument that takes the scientific facts that we know about the universe (however basic those scientific facts may seem, such as the fact that we exist) and uses logic to show a creator God as being an internally consistent explanation for those facts.

Provisionally, yes.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  In fact, it also establishes a creator-God (of some type, not necessarily the Christian God or any other) to be the only internally consistent explanation for the facts.

That is nonsensical. You cannot simultaneous not know and yet also know what didn't happen.

Also: stop saying 'God'. It is a dishonestly loaded term.

Otherwise, you must be able to answer the following:
What else do you know about said purported 'God' beyond universe-creation duties?

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  To classify it as an appeal to the unknown...

Which it is.

(23-01-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  ... is to ignore the actual issue and to reject a hypothesis without actually attacking the logic thereof or any of the premises (or scientific facts) on which it is based.

The sole premise is that the universe exists. While indisputable, there is nothing here to draw any such inferences from.

Lastly the hypothesis only raises as many questions (one) as it answers (one).

As a wise man once said,
(16-01-2014 04:25 PM)cjlr Wrote:  When questioning: "why reality"?
You answer: "a creator".
When asked: "why a creator"?
. . .

(please, for the sweet love of your God, do not go full turtles on me)

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23-01-2014, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 23-01-2014 11:58 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
I live at the bottom of a mountain on the top of which is Walt Disney's castle which was once lived in by the King of Jerusalem, who was a French Guy who was a friend of Richard the Lionhearted. Where am I? http://stronghold2.heavengames.com/history/cw/cw128

When you see a place like this you start to question what on earth is going on.

The point being that we are talking apples and oranges. In earlier times people thought that Gods were real, not in a metaphysical world. They lived at the top of mountains like Olympus and they lived forever. The "heavens" were the sky, in which the Gods lived, because they were up the top of the mountain. Perhaps this was part of a system of control. The creator of a tribe who had a harem and many descendants would live up the top of a hill in a fort or castle where he could oversee his land. And everyone respected him because they were mainly his descendants, but then maybe his heirs would concoct a story that the old guy was still alive but that only they could communicate with them, thus ensuring their power.

But when people started to wise up and realized that these Gods weren't real and weren't actually there, then the Gods retreat into a metaphysical world which only someone with special powers can communicate with. So, when you say it is possible that God exists, are you talking about the "real live" Gods of the Greeks who lived up the top of Mount Olympus?

Then, when people start questioning whether there is a metaphysical world in which these Gods exist or if the concept is even logically or linguistically meaningful, we get a further retreat into the realms of the possibility that in an infinite cosmos anything is possible...so, does that take us back to a "lord/Lord" living at the top of a hill like Guy de Lusignan the King of Jerusalem who thought he was given the right to rule Jerusalem by God?
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23-01-2014, 11:29 AM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
Quote: I was a philosophy major in undergrad, so I suppose it makes sense that my comments would tend to sound more philosophical than scientific, but I don't think that makes the cosmological argument any less relevant. I do not, however, agree with your classification of it being outside of science or observation, nor an appeal to the unknown.

Not to sound harsh, but I don't care what you THINK. The cosmological argument is irrelevant for the reasons I outlined, and if you're going to disagree, you're going to have to do so on logical grounds. "Nuh-uh," which is your response, is not a logical ground or a refutation of what I said. And while you can declare the cosmological argument to be scientific, that doesn't make it so. It relies upon an unfounded assumption, one with no scientific basis, then asserts that assumption as its conclusion. That is the opposite of science. And it is absolutely an appeal to the unknown, your disavowal notwithstanding.

Your stubbornness does not invalidate my argument. "Nuh-uh" is not a refutation. Try again.
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23-01-2014, 01:00 PM
RE: What if God is a provable phenomenon?
(22-01-2014 02:47 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Robby, your pink unicorns and fleems really don't have anything to do with what I was asking about at the start of this topic. But, if you want me to respond to it, I'd say that your point has the same problem with it that I see with a lot of atheist arguments: it is an appeal to emotion not to logic. You bring up clearly made-up ideas of fanciful pink unicorns or fleems (other examples online include the all powerful spaghetti monster) with the idea of appealing to people's emotions. Whatever your actual argument is, your use of the emotional plea essentially turns your "argument" into this:

1. Only idiots would believe in pink unicorns
2. Believing in God is just as stupid as believing in pink unicorns
3. You aren't an idiot are you?
4. Therefore, you shouldn't believe in God

Obviously, the problem with that argument is that it doesn't actually address anything to do with the existence of God.

You're missing the point, and trying to make this more personal and negative than it has to be. It is neither an appeal to emotion or meant to call you an idiot.

The point is that you cannot prove fleems don't exist, and they offer an explanation for the first cause. That is literally the only criteria you have for offering up God as the first cause. It's not to say fleems are stupid, therefore God is stupid. It's to illustrate the exact line of reasoning you are using.

I've said this before to you and I'll say it again: there is no evidence that God exists that doesn't require you to assume he exists in the first place. The reason you assume God is reasonable and fleems are not is because you assume God exists and you don't assume fleems exist, yet they have the exact same amount of supporting evidence (none).


Seriously. Fleems. [/thread]


(22-01-2014 02:47 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If your argument actually is as simple as: there is no proof for the existence of God, so he doesn't exist, then first of all, why did you feel the need to use mockery instead of logical arguments? And, secondly, why do you ignore all the good arguments for God's existence?

I never said that, and you're putting words into my mouth. I've explicitly said numerous times that the existence of God is unknowable, but since it lacks any evidence, it isn't credible either.
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